(France, late 15th century). 162 x 114 mm. (6 3/8 x 4 1/2"). Single column, recto with 16 lines of text, verso with 15, in a fine gothic book hand.
Text of saints' days in alternating red or blue (special saints in gold), headings and numerals in burnished gold, four one-line initials in burnished gold on a red and blue ground, "KL" at top left of recto in the form of gray and white acanthus leaves on a background of brushed gold, verso with a panel border featuring blue and gold acanthus leaves and sprays of blue or red flowers on leafy stems, RECTO WITH A THREE-QUARTER BORDER of blue and lavender acanthus leaves and flowers on a brushed gold ground, THE LOWER SECTION WITH A MINIATURE OF A LARGE RED CRUSTACEAN representing Cancer, the Zodiac sign of the month, AND THE OUTER SECTION WITH A MINIATURE SHOWING THE LABOR OF THE MONTH (mowing). A touch of browning to fore edge, minor wrinkling to inner margin, otherwise A VERY FINE, BRIGHT LEAF, the colors rich and the gold sparkling.
This very pleasing calendar leaf is extremely animated and altogether charming. The decoration is full of detail and brightness: the name of month, the numbers, and the major saints' days are all in gold, and all occurrences of "A" in the descending sequence of Dominical Letters appear enlarged and gilded. The style of painting is naïve, but the leaf is nevertheless engaging and intriguing. The Cancer crustacean here seems to be a cross between a crab and a lobster, but notwithstanding this uncertain lineage, it seems merry and certainly bright--very pleasantly red and with much gold highlighting (almost as if having been boiled). The pale greens and blues of the pastoral background provide a soothing contrast to inflamed Cancer. The besmocked haymaker, wearing a broad-brimmed hat to protect against the sun, has evidently been wielding his scythe for some time, as we see a very large haystack in the background, at its foot a white sack, perhaps containing the laborer's midday meal. The painter has given him the convincing look of someone who understands his work and is willing to do it. (ST11786d)
Add to Cart Price: $3,750.00
PJP Catalog: 70.470